Sunday, July 14, 2013

Porquito Mas El Rito

I am far passed the small town of El Rito in northern New Mexico, but I wanted to show extra love for this tiny community of less than 1000 people.  El Rito has few people, but a lot of heart and a lot going for it.  Northern New Mexico College really impressed me with the cultural diversity and welcoming atmosphere.

Adobe architecture is seen all around the campus.  Here are two stoves.

El Rito has had a collection of unique and sustainable programs from adobe building to fiber arts weaving and renewable energy.

Neva playing peek-a-boo through the various recycle bins in the cafeteria.

The kitchen is equally amazing, with Shirley as their head chef.  Shirley and her team make everything fresh three times a day, every day.  This culinary department has been given a grant to make their kitchen the first fully sustainable kitchen in the US, complete with an on site green house for fresh greens and an $8000 composting machine for all organic matter processing.

Shirley and "The Machine".

During the summer, the college opens its doors to various research groups and exchange programs from around the US to lodge and eat on campus for one to four weeks.  There were geologist groups and environmental science groups working in the area while I was there.  Neva and I were allowed to dip into the community pot of strawberries that had been picked earlier that day from a local, organic farm.

Neva and I bumped into our first cyclist that was touring the Divide, and not in the GDT race.  Richard biked into El Rito from the north, and was ready to relax.  El Rito is wedged between some of the toughest portions of the Divide.  Though Richard wasn't racing, he was averaging over 80 miles per day and covering some pretty aggressive terrain. I was glad to see another tourer, with an orange bike, no-less, and we discussed routes, difficulties and triumphs over dinner.  The next morning, we shared breakfast and a few more stories before he rode off.  He decided to end his tour in El Rito, and bike back the way he came, towards his home in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

The smiling Richard and his orange bike about to head northbound again.

Neva and I spent the rest of the day just seeing what the town had to offer.  There are lots of local artists, and a Mexican food place called El Farolito that is known in the surrounding towns as having the best green enchilada sauce in the area.  At the end of the day, we ended up back at the college and enjoyed the mountain views and moderate climate.

The view from the college.

Thank you El Rito for giving us a place to stay, good food, and a warm and sustainable community atmosphere.  We will return.

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